Employee engagement is the accelerant for optimizing customer experiences. This statement has been proven in numerous research and case studies. It can no longer be disputed. Engaged employees generates more engaged customers. This applies for both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, across multiple industries.
Organizations are no longer relying on the two concepts of employee engagement and customer experience design to be happenstance and isolated. These two concepts are not optimized by accident. They have to be actively designed in concert. The Four Vital Customer Experience Questions focuses on combining these two concepts by focusing on individuals and an organizations (collective of people) ability to optimize customer experiences. The four vital questions can be exploited to influence employee and ultimately customer behavior. Building rational and emotional connections with employees drives stronger rational and emotional connections with customers. One begets the other.
Influencing Customer Experiences
Emotional Intelligence, the 7 Keys to Employee Engagement, and the Principles of Persuasion are key elements for emotionally connecting with employees and customers. Emotional Intelligence, often referred to as EI or Emotional Quotient (EQ), has become a prolific topic within organizational development. The usefulness and application of Emotional Intelligence as a differentiating factor in developing leaders, shaping organizational culture, and ultimately impacting an organization’s financial performance is well founded. Emotional Intelligence is more than a theory related to “playing well with others.” It is made up of a specific set of observable and measurable emotional and social skills that impact the way people perceive and express themselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way. In fact, the process mechanism by which EI impacts an organization and its bottom line is through its role in creating a high-performance cultures. When used to engage employees emotional intelligence is a very powerful tool that can be used to increase collaboration, innovation, and reduce conflict, thus impacting the customer experience. Combining the synergistic aspects of these tools into designing the employee experience with a customer experience focus enables the most rapid and effective method for creating a more customer-centric culture.
You Have An Experience (regardless)
All organizations have a customer experience. Your company is no exception, regardless of whether it has been created consciously. Your customer experience may be excellent, bad, or indifferent, but the fact that you have customers, you interact with and influence customers in some manner. If you provide products and services, it means that customers have an experience with you and your brand. It’s a choice to make it excellent, bad, or indifferent. Customer experience management provides the illusion that you can “manage” how customers behave. This is an innocent and common mistake. Those most skilled in customer experience roles realize that influencing the customer experience is the more appropriated mindset to infuse into your customer experience strategy. The same applies to the employee experience. the most skilled leaders know that influence is a significantly more powerful mindset to infuse into engaging and leading employees. By leveraging emotional intelligence, the 7 keys to employee engagement and the principles of persuasion you will be armed with the means to influence an employee experience that impacts the customer experience. Experiences for employees and customers ultimately involve perception, emotion, and influencing behaviors.
People don’t behave like a machine, and no matter how much you want them to act and behave in a certain way, the way to get them to move is through influencing their perception. People are unpredictable. But you cannot afford to throw up your hands and give up in the face of this unpredictably and think you need magic. Instead, you need to increase your success and reduce failures by improving your influence skills with these tools. It may seem like it takes magic to increase customer experiences, but if you were to review the few companies who’s names come up repeatedly when people think about great customer experiences you will find they engage in an enormous amount of collaboration across groups in a company that often work independently and at different stages of attracting and retaining customers. In many cases their marketing, product design, customer services, sales, and advertising all work in concert to deliver the best customer experiences. These organization are high in emotional intelligence, and you can be too.
Contrived Customer Experiences
Many companies have tried to increase the customer experience by adding the word accountability into their culture. Then goals are set and employees are held accountable to a targeted level of performance. Do you like to be controlled and manipulated? Trying to control people is not the answer. Implementing incentives and punitive tactics without designing intrinsically motivating elements results in a contrived employee and customer experience. People will do things for a period of time because they have to, but over time this tactic falters. When command and control tactics are used, several components within the employee and customer journey, will eventually breakdown and result in lost trust and employee and customer loss. Attempting to force employee and customer engagement may render results in the short-term, but eventually a contrived experience is will be debilitating to employees, customers, and shareholders.
Don’t Wait for Human Resources
Employee engagement is about human relationships, not human resources. Waiting for the Human Resources department to do something about improving the level of employee engagement in organizations is an unwise decision. Human resource departments are rarely equipped to impact the relationships within yhe organization. Their time and efforts is consumed with personnel related activities like compensation, compliance, hiring, and legal issues. Too many expect building relationships within the business to be the responsibility of the Human Resources department and this is a misguided expectation. It is also not likely that human resource departments will be looking to impact the customer experience with an employee engagement program. Employee engagement programs are most successful when they take a bottom-up approach that is supported and includes the top. Pushing employee engagement to impact the customer experience down from the top has resulted in numerous failed attempts, by hundreds or organizations, and is not advised.
Design the Employee Experience that Drives Business Results
Currently, there is a convergence of two distinctive strategic needs for organizations on a world-wide scale. Talent and customers are the major topics dominating board room discussions all over the world.
The synergistic relationship between employee engagement and the customer experience can only be optimized when they are combined into a holistic framework. The Customer Experience Employee Engagement (CE3) provides greater understanding and insight into how to design employee engagement practices that will create a more customer-centric organizational culture that delivers that optimizes the customer experience. The CE3 approach is significantly more cost effective as you will be able to leverage many of the same resources that are needed when trying to engage employees and customers. You also create less waste in the design process by combining both. Other approaches only assess and design from one perspective and cause havoc for the other. The CE3 approach is more efficient and more effective.
It can be too late
We have all learned that timing is everything. One of the greatest tragedies witnessed is when an organization has gone past the tipping point. It’s not possible for an organization to undergo a Customer Experience Employee Engagement transformation when they are in the final stages of survival. The constraints that are placed on an organization and its people are immense when overburdened with high debt, numerous scandals, massive job loss, extremely toxic environments, large losses in market share, and the mass exodus of top talent. Any one of these may not be perceived as a tipping point; when these are combined in certain combinations they create a negative synergy that accelerates the death spiral.
The easiest way to determine your readiness to optimize the customer experience through employee engagement is two-fold. You have been told to do it, or are in the position to make it happen, and we are able to determine you have not passed the tipping point. This is why we provide a complimentary consultation to anyone seeking to improve employee engagement and the customer experience.